Thursday, February 1, 2018

Look for Me

Look for Me by Lisa Gardner
Penguin Random House: 2/6/18
eBook review copy; 400 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9781524742058
D.D. Warren series #9

Look for Me by Lisa Gardner is a highly recommended procedural featuring Boston's Detective D.D. Warren and victim's advocate/vigilante Flora Dane.

D.D. Warren is called to the crime scene where a family is found murdered and the oldest daughter is missing. Charlie Boyd, Juanita Baez, and her children, 13-year-old Lola, and 9-year-old Manny, are all dead, shot in their home. Missing is 16-year-old Roxanna Baez and the family's two elderly dogs. It is unknown if Roxanna was abducted, is missing, or the perpetrator. Warren and her team have to try and find the missing girl while unraveling what happened to the family.

Flora Dane, the kidnapped woman who survived over a year of torture and rape, has made a new life for herself helping other victims (Find Her, 2016). She now runs a support group to help empower other women who have endured trauma at the hands of a violent criminal. Roxanna had been in contact with her group before the murders. Now Flora is also looking for the girl, which puts her into an uneasy alliance with Warren. 

As the investigation unfolds information comes out that Juanita wasn't always the ideal mother and her children had been in the foster care system for a year while she cleaned up her act. The girls were eventually reunited with their mother, but they were changed. Flora suspects that something happened to them when they were in the system. These suspicions are confirmed in the multiple parts of Roxanna's school essay titled "The Perfect Family" that interspersed in the novel. They reveal part of what Roxanna and Lola went through in the system and at the foster home of Mother Del. These essays add a depth and intensity to the novel.

Look for Me is a very well written, gripping novel of suspense. The plot is well-paced, which keeps the investigation moving along briskly while the tension slowly rises. Like many readers, I appreciate the research and details that Gardner adds to her novels that provide additional insight in to the characters and make the subject matter feel timely. While savvy readers will likely figure out who done it rather early, that shouldn't lessen the enjoyment of this novel.  It certainly didn't for me.

Although this is part of an ongoing series, you can read Look for Me as a stand-alone novel as character background is explained along with the uneasy relationship between D.D. and Flora. They are both established characters, but there is enough personal information shared to continue the character development while following the investigation. I enjoyed the interaction between the two this time and look forward to seeing them work together in the future.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House.

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